U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) believes voter fraud was committed by the busload during the recall elections on June 5th. At Mitt Romney's campaign event in Janesville this week, Johnson claimed that recent abuses at the polls illustrate why Wisconsin should require voters to verify their identity with a photo ID before casting a ballot.
"There have been a number of incidents documented," said Johnson, "of busloads or van loads of people voting multiple times at different voting booths with pretty flimsy IDs."
The photo ID provision in the GOP's newly passed Voter ID law was struck down on constitutional grounds by a Dane County Judge this spring. Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen is defending the new voting rules but the state appeals court is not expected to take up the case until next year. In all likelihood, photo IDs will not be required to vote in the presidential election this November. Johnson said the new ballot restrictions are needed in the upcoming elections "so that real voters and legitimate voters have their votes counted and not detracted by illegal voters."
When asked whether there was any evidence of busloads of people showing up at the polls intent on committing voter fraud, Johnson could only remember reading about them.
"Talk to Van Wangaard," suggested Johnson. "A lot of [voter fraud] occurred in the Racine area."
Last Friday, State Senator Van Wangaard (R-Racine) asked for a recount after final election results showed that he had been successfully recalled by less than 1,000 votes. So far, the recount has not uncovered any evidence that would back up Johnson's claims of a coordinated effort to stuff ballot boxes on June 5th.
"I've heard all sorts of things the past two weeks," said Wangaard campaign spokesman Dan Romportl. "Some of it is unsubstantiated at this point and some of it has been turned over to the sheriff's department to investigate."
Romportl didn't know whether the Racine County sheriff's office had received complaints about the "documented incidents" Senator Ron Johnson described. However, Romportl did say that fears of mischief of the polls"drove a lot public pressure from our grassroots to go through with the [recount]."
Several messages asking for confirmation of Johnson's voter fraud concerns have not been returned by the Racine County sheriff's department.